Sunday, October 12, 2008

We Surely Need Some More Of These Debates

D'Souza, Hitchens, and Prager in a debate on ‘The Christian God, the Jewish God or No God’.

There’s something vital missing in our part of the world where we don’t have any such stimulating debates
















D’Souza – doesn’t get ‘it’ sometimes
Hitchens - sounds very pompous and arrogant but I am on his side mostly.
Prager - vague

From ‘Lust For Life’ by Irving Stone – a book on Vincent Van Gogh

Human conduct…….is a great deal like drawing. The whole perspective changes with the shifted position of the eye and depends not on the subject but on the man who is looking

“They call my books immoral,” said Zola “for the same reason that they attribute immorality to your paintings, Henri. The public cannot understand that there is no room for MORAL judgements in art. Art is amoral; so is life. For me there are no obscene pictures or books; there are only poorly conceived and poorly executed ones. A whore by Toulouse-Lautrec is moral because he brings out the beauty that lies beneath her external appearance; a pure country girl by Bouguereau is immoral because she is sentimentalized and so cloyingly sweet that just to look at her is enough to make you vomit.
The ordinary human being thinks in terms of duality; light and shade: sweet and sour, good and evil. That duality does not exist in nature. There is neither good nor evil in the world but only being and doing. When we describe an action, we describe life; when we call that action names – like depravity or obscenity – we go into the realm of subjective prejudice.”

“Lets formulate our manifesto, gentlemen,” said Zola. “First, we think all truth beautiful, no matter how hideous it's face may seem. We accept all of nature without any repudiation. We believe there is more beauty in a harsh truth than in a pretty lie, more poetry in earthiness than in all the salons of Paris. We think pain good, because it is the most profound of all human feelings. We think sex beautiful, even when portrayed by a harlot and a pimp. We put character above ugliness, pain above prettiness and hard, crude reality above all the wealth of France. We accept life in it's entirety, without making any moral judgements. We think the prostitute as good as the countess, the concierge as good as the general, the peasant as good as the cabinet minister for they all fit into the pattern of nature and are woven into the design of life!”

……….the fields that push up the corn and the water that rushes down the ravine, the juice of the grape and the life of a man as it flows past him are all one and the same thing. The sole unity in life is the unity of rhythm. A rhythm to which we all dance; men, apples, ravines, ploughed fields, carts among the corn, houses, horses and the sun. the stuff that is in you, Gauguin, will pound through a grape tomorrow because you and the grape are one. When I paint a peasant laboring in the field, I want people to feel the peasant flowing down into the soil, just as the corn does, and the soil flowing up into the peasant. I want them to feel the sun pouring into the peasant, into the field, the corn, the plough and the horses just as they all pour back into the sun. When you being to feel the universal rhythm in which everything on earth moves, you being to understand life. THAT ALONE IS GOD

Saturday, October 11, 2008

From ‘After Many A Summer’ by Aldous Huxley

…..the perfect message – the message his mother expected of him, at once tender and witty, charged with genuine devotion ironically worded, acknowledging her maternal determination but at the same time making fun of it, so that the old lady could salve her conscience by pretending that her son was entirely free and herself the least tyrannical of mothers

The frightfulness of the world had reached a point at which it had become for him merely boring

Her admiration gave him an intense satisfaction. ‘Oh, it's quite easy,’ he said with hypocritical modesty, angling for more

Patients belonged to three classes: those that imagined they were sick but weren’t; those that were sick, but would get well anyhow; those that were sick and would be much better dead

‘……because it's a fact.’
‘For you, perhaps,’ said Jeremy in a tone which implied that more civilized people didn’t suffer from these hallucinations

A comic spectacle, Mr. Propter reflected as he looked at him; except of course, that it was so extremely depressing.

How disastrous when a man knows how to say the wrong things in the right way

Art can be a lot of things; but in actual practice most of it is merely the mental equivalent of alcohol and cantharides

Thoughts… … …

There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings

– Dostoevski

Emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of it.

– Spinoza

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how

- Nietzsche

That which does not kill me, makes me stronger

– Nietzsche

Who really knows? Who here will proclaim it? Whence was it produced? Whence is this creation? Perhaps it was formed itself or perhaps it did not. The one who surveys it all, in the highest heaven, only he knows – or perhaps even he does not know.

– Rig Veda

There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

– Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

“Shall I tell you?” “what you have that other men don’t have and that will make the future?”
“It's the courage of your own tenderness, that’s what it is”

- From Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H.Lawrence

Youths should be firm
In character and strong in body
To such a man, the whole
World becomes full of wealth

- Taittiriya Upanishads 2-8

If you have nothing but complexion to recommend you,
You have no recommendations.
If you know anything, you recommend yourself

- Anon

He could have added fortune to fame
But caring for neither
He found happiness and honour
In being helpful to the world

- Epitaph on the tomb of George Washington Carver (see

Coincidence, if traced far back enough, becomes inevitable

- Inscription on a Hindu temple near New Delhi and quoted by Carl Gustav Jung

Only when one can face death without fear that one can face life

- Anon

‘Atticus’ – said Jim bleakly.
‘What, son?’
‘How could they do it, how could they?’
‘I don’t know, but they didn’t. They’ve done it before and they did it tonight and they’ll do it again and when they do it – seems that only children weep. Good night!’

- From ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee. The event: A white jury had given a judgement of ‘Guilty’ to a black man who was innocent

Mrs ......was one of those childless adults who find it necessary to assume a different tone of voice when speaking to children

- From ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee.

From ‘Zorba The Greek’ – by Nikos Kazantzakis

“May God be with us,” I said as I rose. “Lets go!”
“God and the devil!,” Zorba added calmly

An old grandfather of ninety was busy planting an almond tree. ‘What, granddad!’ I exclaimed. ‘Planting an almond tree?’ And he, bent as he was, turned round and said: ‘My son, I carry on as if I should never die.’ I replied: ‘And I carry on as if I was going to die any minute.’ Which of us was right, boss?

While experiencing happiness, we have difficulty in being conscious of it. Only when the happiness is past and we look back on it do we suddenly realize – sometimes with astonishment – how happy we had been.

“What happened to the crow, Zorba?”
“Well, you see, he used to walk respectably, properly – well, like a crow. But one day he got it into his head to try and strut about like a pigeon. And from that time on the poor fellow couldn’t for the life of him recall his own way of walking. He was all mixed up”

He threw himself into the dance, clapping his hands, leaping and pirouetting in the air, falling on to his knees, leaping again with his legs tucked up – it was as if he was made of rubber. He suddenly made tremendous bounds into the air, as if he wished to conquer the laws of nature and fly away. One felt that in this old body of his there was a soul struggling to carry away this flesh and cast itself like a meteor in the darkness. It shook the body which fell back to earth, since it could not stay very long in the air, it shook it again pitilessly, this time a little higher, but the poor body fell again, breathless

It was raining again the next day. The sky mingled with the earth in infinite tenderness

‘Don’t you fear God, Giaour?’ ‘Why should I’
‘Because, little Roumi, he who can sleep with a woman and does not, commits a great sin. My boy, if a woman calls you to share her bed and you don’t go, your soul will be destroyed! That woman will sigh before God on judgement day and that woman’s sigh, whoever you may be and whatever your fine deeds, will cast you into Hell!’

“This is true happiness: to have no ambition and to work like a horse as if you had every ambition. To live far from men, not to need them and yet to love them. To take part in the Christmas activities and after eating and drinking well, to escape on your own far from all the snares, to have the stars above, the land to your left and the sea to your right: and to realize all of a sudden that in your heart, life has accomplished the final miracle: it has become a fairy tale.”

My indiscreet desire of that morning to pry into and know the future, before it was born suddenly appeared to me a sacrilege.
I remembered one morning when I discovered a cocoon in the bark of a tree, just as the butterfly was making a hole in its case and preparing to come out. I waited a while, but it was too long in appearing and I was impatient. I beat over it and breathed on it to warm it. I warmed it as quickly as I could and the miracle began to happen before my eyes, faster than life. The case opened, the butterfly started slowly crawling out and I shall never forget my horror when I saw how its wings were folded back and crumpled; the wretched butterfly tried with its whole trembling body to unfold them. Bending over it, I tried to help it with my breath. In vain. It needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding of its wings should be a gradual process in the sun. Now it was too late. My breath had forced the butterfly to appear, all crumpled, before its time. It struggled desperately and, a few seconds later, died in the palm of my hand.
That little body is, I do believe, the greatest weight I have on my conscience. For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of nature. We should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the eternal rhythm.

‘Well, I think every man has his own smell. We didn’t notice it much because smells mingle all together and we can't tell which is yours and which is mine, really…….All we know is that there’s a foul smell and that what we call ‘humanity’……I mean “the human stench”. There are people who sniff at it as if it was lavender. It makes me want to spew.’

When you’ve made up your mind, no use lagging behind, go ahead and no relenting.
Let your youth have free reign, it won’t come again, so be bold and no repenting.

“Once when I was a kid, I was mad on cherries……..found a silver mejidie and pinched it……..bought a basket o’ cherries……began eating it……till I was all swollen out. My stomach began to ache and I was sick……thoroughly sick, and from that day to this I’ve never wanted a cherry. I couldn’t bear the sight of them. I was saved. I could say no to any cherry. I don’t need you anymore and I did this same thing later with wine and tobacco. I still drink and smoke, but at any second, if I want to, whoop! I can cut it out. I’m not ruled by passion. It’s the same with my country. I thought too much about it, so I stuffed myself up to the neck with it, spewed it up and its never troubled me since.”
“What about women?” I asked.
“Their turn will come, damn them!......When I’m about seventy!”
“……..that’s how men free themselves!...............there’s no way except by stuffing themselves till they burst. Not by turning ascetic. How do you expect to get the better of a devil, boss, if you don’t turn into a devil and a half yourself?”

“The weather’s changed. The tree’ll swell and so will young girls breasts….and they’ll be bursting out of their bodices! Ah! Spring’s a rogue! An invention of the devil!”
“…………Have you noticed, boss, everything good in this world is an invention of the devil? Pretty women, spring, roast suckling, wine - the devil made them all! God made monks, fasting, camomile-tea and ugly women……pooh!”
“…………In the spring,” he said, “Satan reigns supreme. Belts are slackened, blouses unbuttoned, old ladies sigh…”

“Yes, you understand with your brain. You say: ‘This is right and that’s wrong……..’ but where does that lead us? While you are talking I watch your arms and chest. Well, what are they doing? They’re silent. They don’t say a word. As though they hadn’t a drop of blood between them. Well, what do you think you understand with? With your head? Bah!”

“Its all because of doing things by halves,” he would often say to me and “saying things by halves, being good by halves, that the world is in the mess it's in today. Do things properly by God! One good knock for each nail and you’ll win through! God hates a half-devil ten times more than an archdevil”

………two seagulls bobbed up and down on the tiny waves, with necks fluffed out, voluptuously enjoying the movement of the water.
I could well imagine their delight in the freshness of the water under their bellies. As I watched the seagulls, I thought: “That’s the road to take; find the absolute rhythm and follow it with absolute trust.”

That is what a real man is like, I thought, envying Zorba’s sorrow. A man with warm blood and solid bones who lets real tears run down his cheeks when he is suffering; and when he is happy he does not spoil the freshness of his joy by running it through the fine sieve of metaphysics

Movie Review: Kaalia (The Black One) (1981)

In a movie otherwise so mediocre how did the songs turn out to be so consistently good or great? It’s a mystery to me. All credit to the parties involved

So without much ado let me turn to the songs

1. Jahan Teri Ye Nazar Hai Meri Jaan Mujhe Khabar Hai:

Danced with verve by AB. Sung with equal fervor by Kishore Kumar

2. Sanam Tum Jahan:

I luvvvvvv this song. It’s a minor masterpiece. For starters its sung so wonderfully by Asha……with just the right mix of playfulness and flirtaciousness. With apt lyrics lending themselves to the situation the movie finds itself at, at that moment. The confident AB and charming PB are at the peak of their respective prowesses. The kitschy sets are perfect. The choreography is good. Dash it, I even loved the camera movements. And the fact that AB and PB share a great chemistry doesn’t hurt. Its great

3. Jabse Tumko Dekha:

another great tune, sung wonderfully by the male and female leads (Asha and Kishore)

4. Tum Saath Ho Jab Apne

5. Kaun Kisiko Baandh Saka the accompanying song to a prison break

And now I have to reluctantly turn to the movie itself. It’s the usual stuff of the movies around that time: Smugglers, a wronged brother-in-law, a devout and chaste white-saried widowed bhabhi, a mother who almost reveals the name of her daughter’s true father to her on her deathbed; but doesnt, the abducted daughter who is discovered after many years etc.etc. The story isn’t of much consequence.

The dialogues attempt to raise puny characters to mythical proportions. The puny characters mouth larger than life clichés. The vision of the script/dialogue writers somehow doesn’t translate into their output. The final effort is in turn laughable, pitiable, tedium-raising, ultimately boring but sometimes interspersed by some good pieces of dialogues. It’s a masala-mix, really.

So what worked?

Amitabh is fantastic but constricted by the confines imposed by the movie’s mediocrity. The transformation of the simpleton Kallu to the smuggler Kaalia is vintage Amitabh. AB is in great physical shape, very confident of his abilities and dominates every shot.

Asha Sachdev and Pran are competent. But surprisingly, the villain Amjad Khan looks and acts supremely disinterested in the whole rigmarole

There is a reasonably watchable prison escape scene. But otherwise only die-hard Bachchan fans might find some takeaways over here


Amitabh Bachchan
Asha Parekh
Parveen Babi
Amjad Khan
Kader Khan

Playback: Asha, Rafi, Kishore and others
Photography: Pravin Bhatt
Screenplay: Santosh-Taher
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri
Dialogue: Inder Raj Anand
Music: R.D.Burman
Produced by Iqbal Singh
Story, Screenplay and Direction: Tinnu Anand

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

When Lata Mangeshkar floored Andy Summers! (from an article from Rediff)

………..In his memoir One Train Later, Andy Summers, the guitarist for the legendary rock band The Police, recounts how he was mesmerised by Piya Tose Naina Lage Naa, sung by Lata Mangeshkar [Images] in the 1965 classic movie, Guide.

Summers, who published his brilliantly written -- it is entirely in the present tense, and filled with wit, humour, and admirable grasp of the nuances of storytelling -- memoir two years ago, describes how he heard the song at the end of the sixties on acid (lysergic acid diethylamide), and almost on loop.

He describes Lata's voice as 'incomparable', and notes that he was so enamoured with the song -- composed by the maestro Sachin Dev Burman -- that he recorded it with British Asian singer Najma Akhtar later in his career.

That might surprise those of you familiar with Summers's trademark sparse guitar style that gave The Police their punk-meets-reggae-meets-jazz sound and propelled them to becoming one of the most successful rock bands in history.

But truth is, Summers's musical roots run way deeper, and he is a noted eclectic artist in his own right, just like his wee bit more famous band-mate, Sting…………..

Friday, October 3, 2008

Movie Review: Manpasand (Favourite) (1980) (Hindi movie)

This is the Hindi film industry’s adaptation of the English film ‘My Fair Lady’, itself based on a book by George Bernard Shaw.

In which Dev Anand (the never-aging (and I am being sarcastic over here) actor) plays a middle-aged bachelor who is a master musician, exactly what kind of, we will never know. He tinkers with very strange machines (which he has developed and sells in between to Yamaha) that measure how ‘surila’ a person is. He also presumably teaches music to aspiring singers. Coming back to his machine, it occupies the length of a wall and is topped by light bulbs: white ones light up when a person is singing in tune and the coloured ones when he/she is not. At this point you can switch off the movie and you wouldn’t be missing much.

The story: DA bets with his friend, Girish Karnad (himself a middle-aged bachelor) that he will teach a music-deaf person to be a good singer and GK should then proceed to marry that person. That music-deaf person is Tina Munim, a seller of datoons (twigs of the neem tree used as toothbrush-cum-toothpaste) in trains. DA turns TM (the one with the glittering smile) into a good singer and the twist in the tale is that TM falls in love with DA and vice-versa (although DA himself doesn’t know it until its pointed out by GK). Both the odd characters come together in the end, but not before they have a big misunderstanding. TM thinks DA has used her to win a bet, DA thinks the girl is ungracious in not accepting that its because of him that her life changed.
This is a film with low production values and some not-so-competent character actors. In fact even the main actors are so-so.

DA and GK are 2 big weak points in this film. The Dev Anand school of acting probably involves using the same set of 50 standard expressions in rotation irrespective of the situation. And banking upon a strong screen presence and complete confidence (misplaced or otherwise) in front of the camera. His is the self-absorbed method of acting. Self-absorbed in narcissism, I mean. GK is equally self-conscious but uncomfortable throughout the movie. The less said about his acting; the better.

TM occurs here in one of her earlier films. She is just about adequate and spunky (that’s become one of my favourite words nowadays). Tina Munim in the first part of the movie is the rather good-looking well made-up slumdweller girl who sells ‘datoon’ in the trains and utters cuss-words in every other sentence. In the second part she is turned into a lady and a singer.

Who could have predicted that Tina Munim would eventually marry Anil Ambani (the scion of one of India’s topmost business magnates) who was not long ago hailed as the world’s 6th richest person. And who is now going into partnership with Steven Spielberg to produce Hollywood movies. And possibly buy an English football club in the bargain. And whose brother (rated the 5th richest man in the world not long ago) has only last year gifted his wife with a jet airplane and who has recently built the world’s costliest residence (a 60-storey building in Mumbai worth $1 billion). How times change!!!

But before you see me salivating and drooling unabashedly, let’s turn back to the movie.

The story is odd and sounds slightly ugly to me. TM essentially falls in love with a father-figure. Their love is difficult to comprehend. One wants to be submissive, the other wants to dominate and then there’s the age difference to think-of. Is Kamli (TM) trying to find the father that she never had? Mercifully, the 2 of them are not shown in any physically-close sort of shot.

Which brings me to Mehmood, who plays TM’s father in the film. Mehmood, the rascally father of TM who is even willing to sell his daughter to the highest bidder (in marriage), for a change displays subtle humour. He also adopts a very different style of dialogue delivery (different from the one we are familiar with…..and expect from Mehmood) which is comic as well as a piece of accomplished acting. He also pitches in with a reasonably well-sung song; sung by himself that is.
It’s Mehmood and Leela Mishra who delight in the film. Leela Mishra as the caretaker at DA’s residence is her usual self. Lovable and wise.

As for the songs, 2 are well hummable
* Bas Meetha Meetha Bolo – sung in a crowded train compartment
* Suman Sudha Rajnigandha – but why does Lata say Rajniganda instead of Rajnigandha? Mmm….needs to be investigated.


Dedicated to G.B.Shaw
Dev Anand
Tina Munim
Girish Karnad
Simple Kapadia (Sp.App)
Leela Mishra

Playback: Lata, Kishore, Rafi, Mehmood, Tina Munim
Choreography: Vijay-Oscar
Cinematography: K.K.Mahajan
Dialogue: Basu Chatterjee
Lyrics: Amit Khanna
Music: Rajesh Roshan
Produced by Amit Khanna
Screenplay and Direction: Basu Chatterjee

Movie Review: Amar (Immortal) (1954) (Hindi movie)

Immortal the movie name might be, but it’s not what the end-product finally turned out to be.

Directed by the eminent ‘Mehboob Khan’, this movie did hold special interest for me.

The story starts with a very idyllic setting of a Gaulish, sorry ….. an Indian village hut. The music and mood is these opening scenes is so sweet that were it in the hands of the director, even the cows would be urinating eau de cologne

Nimmi, the manic one inhabits this duniya (world) (incidently the Turkish word for world too is dunya. We must have borrowed it). Watch her acting (and I am being civil here) and you will know why I am calling it manic. A village belle, she stays with her father and cruel stepmother. The other key characters who inhabit her surroundings are Dilip Kumar, the eminent lawyer and Madhubala, who is soon to be affianced to him.

The key event which is the pivot of the story is when the pillar of society, DK in a moment of madness and frenzy violates the modesty of the milkmaid’s daughter, Nimmi. The otherwise composed DK who is a respected society man, loses ‘it’ in that moment. The rest of the story essentially revolves around these 3 characters and how the event churns their lives.

For the year 1954 in which it was filmed, it is a very daring story and the director must be appreciated for that. The rest is downhill all the way. It’s as if the director exhausted himself in ideating a daring story and the actual filming was to cover all tracks of his daring-ness.

DK who rapes Nimmi follows-up with an attempt to kill her, but in the truest Hindi filmi tradition (and NOT real life I assume), the victim (who has been secretly admiring DK till then) actually sympathizes with the hero. Circumstances reveal part of the story to Madhubala who now knows that DK has had physical relations with Nimmi but not that he has raped her. The spunky woman that she is, she makes way and DK eventually ends up as the beau of Nimmi. So you have a rapist who attempts to murder the victim subsequently, actually ending up as the victim’s bethrothee!!!! WTF!!! What kind of world were they living-in in the 1950s? It’s a muddle, this film.

A unique characteristic of this story is the special situation in which the victim has a range of emotions vis-à-vis the hero-cum-villain. So you have a Nimmi, a raw village girl infatuated by DK, a polished, suave lawyer. Then she is raped by him, but at some level she does understand his innate goodness and the fact that one moment of madness cannot be held against him eternally. At some level she ignores his indiscretion. So does she forgive him? Or in the truest of feudal traditions, does she actually think that he had the right to violate her? So was the rape also at some level an acquiescence of that feudal relationship (implied and implicit)? Does Nimmi ‘succumb’ too easily? Did she subconsciously want the event to happen anyway?

And why is the village belle a bit unruly (looks and acting-wise) and the city-bred girl so mature and well-behaved. Is there an implied thought that the village girl deserved rape and drove the otherwise well-bred DK to it? Divine justice causes the heavens (in this case the ceiling) to fall upon DK at a point in the film but doesn’t forget to punish Nimmi too (O! evil one. Why did you consent to get raped?). She falls down the stairs. And the other villain conveniently gets stabbed and killed. It’s the karma merry-go-round depicted in 3 hours. What you sow, so shall you reap…though in different measures for men and women. Is it implicit somewhere that the dim-witted woman (Nimmi) deserved to get raped or is it that because she is dim-witted that she weakens an otherwise strong man?

Unfortunately we will never know and the director clearly fails in that sense.

There is an attempt at creating a convoluted sense of justice
1. DK, the polished man ends up marrying a village girl, so he loses as he has to since he has committed a dark act. But on the other hand, there are no criminal proceedings against him, so he is a winner in that sense. Is that to satisfy a potential male chauvinist audience and society?
2. Nimmi, although a rape victim and an potential unwed mother, scores by getting DK as her future husband. She thus avoids loss of respect and society’s censure by DKs acknowledgement of being the father of the unborn kid. There’s still hope for her in this life.
3. Madhubala sacrifices for the right cause and though clearly in love with DK, walks out of his life.

Hmmm…………you get the feeling that DK gets away easily with attempted murder and rape. I wonder what was going on in the director’s mind

Peeling away the layers of melodrama and inadequate acting, there is a strong sense of feminine power and integrity conveyed in bits and pieces. To do that in that era required a director of substance. I have mentally made a note to watch other Mehboob Khan films.

So to turn to the acting:
Watching Nimmi act (!!) is an excruciating experience. Madhubala is better-off by a mile…..and she is an average-actress. Towards the end, Nimmi is pregnant and in deep despair. Even a pregnant and crazed woman would take care not to fall on her stomach violently. Nimmi does that and falls in my eyes too. And she has very little to speak-of in terms of dancing abilities.

Madhubala’s introductory scene is where she is being tutored in dancing; kathak to be specific. She makes absurd kathak gestures accompanied by a manic tabla player. (This female version of St. Francis of Assissi, also entertains poor people in her mansion, btw). But one tends to ignore the acting inadequacies of Madhubala. The wonderfully spirited Madhubala oozes charm and we forgive her just for the pleasure of soaking in her warm beauty.

The wonderfully brooding Dilip Kumar aka Yusuf Khan is competent in his role. But he hardly gets enough to do in the film. He is mostly silent but displays a gravitas and a great screen presence. I can understand why he was called the ‘tragedy king’. The rape is a random incident in his life and that angle or the sequence of scenes leading to it is never really well developed. Sad, because DK just doesn’t get the chance to display his talents.

The movie also abounds in wonderful quirky characters, whether its Nimmi, the ‘tabla’ player, M’s dad, Mukhri, Sankat (the other villain), Nimmi’s parents, DK’s secretary. How I miss all of them in today’s world. The current scenario is that the hero and heroine hog the screen time. And all the rest of the background characters are clones of each other…… hardly any individuality there.

But what I should have mentioned much earlier is that this film is a veritable song-a-rama. At vital moments when you want the characters to plumb the depth of their emotions through prose, the pesky songs step in. A tad too many songs has weakened the script substantially. We know there is a sad story somewhere in here but we don’t get to plumb its depths sufficiently, and the infestation by songs is responsible for that. The songs themselves are okay.

To end with: I will state 2 positives
* Much of the action takes place indoors on artificial sets: village houses, barns, ponds, bridges, forests, it’s all delightful. Nowadays in the era of advanced outdoor photography the artificial sets of yore have been forgotten. Someday I will delve into this topic further.
* And yes, there is a wonderful scene of underwater photography where Nimmi is hiding underwater to escape the clutches of the other villain. I was quite surprised by the clarity of the shooting and the technical wizardry. Even in colour films shot 20-30 years later, I haven’t seen such brilliance. Cool!

Dilip Kumar

Story: S. Ali Raza, Mehrish, S.K.Kalla, B.S.Ramiah
Dialogues: Agha Jani Kashmiri, S. Ali Raza
Songs: Shakeel Badayuni
Music: Naushad. Asst: Mohd.Ebrahim
Photography: Faredoon A.Irani
Editing: Shamsudin Kadri
Dance Direction: Sitara Devi
Directed by Mehboob

P.S. Whats with the guys of that era. Their tied neckties stopped 1 inch above the navel